Monday, December 22, 2014

I'm convinced that there is some sort of time-sucking vortex that happens every year in November and December. Suddenly here we are three days from Christmas, my dad arrives this afternoon for a week's visit, I haven't cleaned the bathroom yet, and my box of presents somehow never got mailed to Philadelphia. 

How does that happen? Granted, this year was more chaotic than normal because of moving, but still... I do remember Thanksgiving, but most of the past month and a half is a complete blur. I seriously feel like there's a couple weeks that went missing somewhere in there. 

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Can I please just say...

New mattress.

Memory foam.

Awesome sleep.

Should have done it ages ago.

The difference in the restfulness of my sleep is unbelievable. My back doesn't hurt.  My hands don't go numb from sleeping on my side.  It is SO AMAZINGLY AWESOME!

I didn't really realize just how uncomfortable my old mattress was until I got the new one.

Because I am thoroughly a geek, I even have Visual Displays and Science(ish) Data to back this up.  I have a dynamic alarm clock app on my phone, which uses the phone's accelerometer to monitor my movements and wake me up when I'm in a light sleep phase during the half-hour period before the set alarm time. I've tested it with the new mattress, because I thought maybe the foam would prevent it from picking up my movements as well, but it still catches the slightest shift.

Here are a few graphs of my sleep pattern on the old mattress.  I picked out some of the better ones - these are nights in late November, after I moved into the new house, when I felt like I got a good night's sleep.



Note that the peaks and valleys are extreme, I completely woke up multiple times a night, and rarely went fully into what the app considers "Deep Sleep".  This tells me I was very restless.

Now here's one on the new mattress:


Granted, this was a Friday night, so I slept about an hour longer than on a weekday. Even so...smaller peaks, deeper sleep, and I only completely woke up once.

My "sleep quality" score, which is a combination of length of time in bed and amount of movement (using some mysterious formula),  has been consistently 95-100% since getting the new mattress.  On the old mattress I considered anything above 85% a triumph, and the average was in the low 70s.

I know this isn't very scientific, but it's pretty cool and there's a definite visual difference in the graphs starting when I got the new mattress.  More importantly, I can tell the difference in how I feel in the morning and function during the day.

Friday, December 05, 2014

I have done so many new things over the past month or so, things I have never EVER done before:
  • I purchased my very own house. It is my house and I own it and it is mine (and the bank's). 
  • I made my first solo mortgage payment. One down, 359 to go. 
  • I used a post hole digger and installed a mailbox. 
  • I installed a clothes rod in a closet. 
  • I used a high-pressure hose attachment to clean out a slow-draining laundry sink.
  • I hung pictures from a picture rail. 
  • I changed the water filter in a refrigerator. 
  • I reversed the direction on a light switch so that up is on and down is off. 
  • I read up on how to prune grape vines. 
  • I purchased a wheelbarrow.
  • I purchased a ladder.
  • I purchased a clothes dryer.
  • I reversed the door on a clothes dryer, so it opens the right way in relation to the adjacent washing machine.
  • I purchased a new mattress for Emma, to fit her full-size-bed alcove. 
  • I purchased a new mattress for myself, to replace the lumpy, cheap, 19-year-old one that my ex-husband bought when he was a grad student. Slept better than I have in YEARS.
  • I finished purchasing a high quality musical instrument, by making a lump-sum payment for the outstanding balance so as to avoid the interest and so it wouldn't drag out over the next two years.
  • I listened in wonder as Emma joyfully and confidently progressed from squeaky first notes to learning to play actual songs on her paid-off flute.
  • I read up on how to strip paint off woodwork.
  • I raked leaves in my own front yard. 
  • I sat on my front porch and watched it snow.
  • I felt like I truly have my own space, a refuge, a place that I belong.

I'm not going to kid you, it was a breathtakingly expensive month.  My bank account is leaner, but my heart is very full.

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

I made these little hand-stitched felt penguin ornaments to add to the Christmas tree at my office.

I melt from the cuteness. They were so much fun to make! I might have to get some felt and make a couple for my own tree.

Hand-stitched felt penguin ornaments!

Hand-stitched felt penguin ornaments!

Hand-stitched felt penguin ornaments!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

What’s the best way to attract the attention of an 11 year old girl, who is upstairs and apparently ignoring my calls to come down for dinner?

Whistle Katniss’s four-note mockingjay song (from the Hunger Games) at the bottom of the stairs.  She came running and peered wide-eyed down at me.

I giggled at her for a solid 10 minutes.

Seriously, though, I think she has gotten more out of this series than just the adventure story. Emma’s class read the first book of the series in school, and watched the movie.  She then proceeded to devour the last two books on her own initiative, and we watched the movies together after she was done reading.  She finished the third book in time for us to go to the matinee of Mockingjay Part 1 on Sunday.  I read these books a few years ago, and watched the first two movies when they came out on Netflix. It's great that Emma’s growing up enough for us to go to the theater together for the last two.

She’s been all about Katniss this fall, and this sixth grader has made some very astute comments on recent world events. At various points over the past month she has talked to me, with understanding and insight, about how a dystopian society can form following a war or plague, about how oppression of a group of people by a privileged upper class leads to disaster, and how Katniss, Harry Potter, and Luke Skywalker have proved that ordinary people can change the world.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Ta Da!!!!!!!!!

Look what I added to my keychain today!

My new key!

I still can't quite believe it.  I own a house.

My new key!

Thursday, October 09, 2014

In other news, I'm in the process of making this happen to my bank account:

Front from street.

I've never bought a house on my own before, with all my own money, all by my very own self.

To say I'm very excited (and also a little terrified) would be an understatement.